Tuesday 27 December 2011

The return of Grand Duchy of Cheddar!

After numerous and continuous defeats, the Duchess of Cheddar's Own Regiment of Foote (a warband for Ganesha Games' Song of Blades and Heroes rules system) was disbanded a few months ago. I couldn't quite decide what to do with my painted raties but have now settled down to rebase them for WRG's Hordes of the Things, a DBA derived fantasy game. Version 2.0 of the rules have been long out of print and may be downloaded free from the WRG website SEE HERE.

I have put painted up a few more rats to put two full regiments of foote (1x spear, 2x shooter) in the field and put in an order at Pendraken for some League of Ratsburg dragoons (1x riders),  artillery (1x artillery) and a Dwarven steam-powered armoured car which I will convert into the Ducal battle wagon (1x behemoth). 

The last element that I wanted for my new Grand Duchy of Cheddar HotT army was an airboat. I set about constructing more or less one from scratch as there was nothing which really suited the feel that I wanted from a fantastic 17th century, rat-piloted airship.... The balloon if a foam egg from an arts and craft store. The first one melted when I tried to use superglue to hold in the fins. The boat was a pinnace from an old model ship I had never built - as are the pieces of rigging. the gunner is a Pendraken musketeer, the 'pilot' is a Pendraken pikeman (his pike is actually structurally important for the model!). The fins are cut up counters and the lantern is from a Games Workshop Mordheim kit. The following two pictures are merely work in progress shots. I will post more when its closer to completion/completed.


Saturday 19 November 2011

Spanish auxiliary Indians and Cimeroons

Work has been a bit hectic and I've not had much time for painting recently. The little time I have had has been devoted to working on the new battle lists and scenario rules for Irregular Wars. However, this weekend I managed (with the welcome assistance from the wife) to get a couple of companies finished up and ready to be previewed.

The first doughty warriors are three companies of Indian mercenaries to join Don Diego Diablo del Mar in his struggle to maintain order in His Most Catholic Majesty's possessions in the Caribbean. The figures are 15mm Essex Aztec Cuachics. I did a simple head swap to give their captain a morion helmet - evidence among his own people of his pro-Dago status. These noble savages will join the battle started HERE.

Opposing Don Diego are the savage savages from the Caribbean coasts and islands. The main battle is featured HERE. Sneeking down from their hideouts to help in the fight against Spanish oppression are two more companies of Cimeroons - escaped African slaves. The three male figures are 15mm Grumpy Cimeroons from the Buccaneers range, the woman is a 15mm Peter Pig female pirate.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Hymn to Pan

I'm pleased to introduce the prototype Satyr warband for Song of Blades and Heroes by Ganesha Games. I decided to start with a smaller warband of higher quality characters (after all, it requires less painting). I have more models with hand weapons in my lead pile, but I'll see how these little chaps perform first. The Satyrs are all Eureka (panpipes added to Pan as a small conversion), the Dryad is Shadowforge.

The warband as it stands:

Pan; Q3 C3 (100pts)
Hero, Forester, Mountaineer, Terror, Unique
Phoebe the Dryad; Q3 C2 (56 pts)

Entangle, Forester
Satyr archers (x3); Q3 C3 (48pts each)

Forester, Mountaineer, Shooter: Medium
All Satyrs have both the 'mountaineer' and 'forester' special abilities to reflect their sylvian habitat. The dryad model has legs that turn into roots at the feet and I liked the idea of her being able to make roots or plant matter spring up out of the ground to entangle her foes and so gave her the 'entangle' ability rather than the suggested 'distract'.


Homeric Hymn 19, To Pan

[1] Sing Museof Pan, the dear son of Hermes, with his goat's feet and two horns —a lover of merry noise. Through wooded glades he wanders with dancing nymphs who foot it on some sheer cliff's edge, [5] calling upon Pan, the shepherd-god, long-haired, unkempt. He has every snowy crest and the mountain peaks and rocky crests for his domain; hither and thither he goes through the close thickets, now lured by soft streams, [10] and now he presses on amongst towering crags and climbs up to the highest peak that overlooks the flocks. Often he courses through the glistening high mountains, and often on the shouldered hills he speeds along slaying wild beasts, this keen-eyed god. Only at evening, [15] as he returns from the chase, he sounds his note, playing sweet and low on his pipes of reed: not even she could excel him in melody —that bird who in flower-laden spring pouring forth her lament utters honey-voiced song amid the leaves. At that hour the clear-voiced nymphs are with him and [20] move with nimble feet, singing by some spring of dark water, while Echo wails about the mountain-top, and the god on this side or on that of the choirs, or at times sidling into the midst, plies it nimbly with his feet. On his back he wears a spotted lynx-pelt, and he delights in high-pitched songs [25] in a soft meadow where crocuses and sweet-smelling hyacinths bloom at random in the grass.

They sing of the blessed gods and high Olympos and choose to tell of such an one as luck-bringing Hermes above the rest, how he is the swift messenger of all the gods, [30] and how he came to Arkadia, the land of many springs and mother of flocks, there where his sacred place is as god of Kyllene. For there, though a god, he used to tend curly-fleeced sheep in the service of a mortal man, because there fell on him and waxed strong melting desire to wed the rich-tressed daughter of Dryops, [35] and there he brought about the merry marriage. And in the house she bare Hermes a dear son who from his birth was marvellous to look upon, with goat's feet and two horns —a noisy, merry-laughing child. But when the nurse saw his uncouth face and full beard, she was afraid and sprang up and fled and left the child. [40] Then luck-bringing Hermes received him and took him in his arms: very glad in his heart was the god. And he went quickly to the abodes of the deathless gods, carrying his son wrapped in warm skins of mountain hares, and set him down beside Zeus [45] and showed him to the rest of the gods. Then all the immortals were glad in heart and Bacchic Dionysos in especial; and they called the boy Pan because he delighted all their hearts.

And so hail to you, lord! I seek your favour with a song. And now I will remember you and another song also.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

The haunting lilt of panpipes high on the mountain peak...

At MOAB this year I finally submitted to my long-time desire and picked up a few 28mm Eureka satyrs and a Shadowforge dryad. I'll use them for SBH for now, and for the Greek Myth version, Song of Gods and Heroes, when it is finally written. The 'satyrs' are technically Panes, the twelve Pan-esque nature spirits, Greek Satyrs having human legs an horses tails, but I'm happy to go with 'satyrs'. Note that the pictures below are from the respective manufacturers' websites.
Satyr spearmen
Satyrs with hand weapons
Satyr archers
Not sure whether I want more of less satyrs for SBH. I tend to find that less (with higher Q) is more in the game, but my provisional lists are as follows: <SBH warband builder HERE>

Satyr archer;48;3;3;false;Forester,Mountaineer,Shooter: Medium;;
Satyr archer;48;3;3;false;Forester,Mountaineer,Shooter: Medium;;
Satyr archer;48;3;3;false;Forester,Mountaineer,Shooter: Medium;;


Satyr ;30;4;3;false;Forester,Mountaineer;;
Satyr ;30;4;3;false;Forester,Mountaineer;;
Satyr archer;41;4;3;false;Forester,Mountaineer,Shooter: Long;;
Satyr archer;41;4;3;false;Forester,Mountaineer,Shooter: Long;;

MOAB 2011 (DBA matched pairs comp.)

The Southern Battle Gamers host MOAB (Mother of all Battlegames) over the three-day October long weekend each year (see HERE). This year I was only able to attend the Saturday and took part in the DBA historical matched pairs competition. On the Sunday there was a AD 1067 campaign, but I was pre-booked to drink bier and eat suspiciously shaped German sausages to welcome in Oktober...

The main hall early on Saturday morning... before it got rowdy.
The many many MOAB events take place over three floors of a gymnasium/hall/basketball court. The main floor including stage (pictured), a mezzanine (sort of in the picture), a basement and a bunch of rooms out the back. All manner of games are on offer as competitions, for demonstrations and participation. No Conflict at the World's End this year, but I might see if we can't have a couple of games on the go next year.

In the historic matched pairs competition I managed to scrape into 9th place out of ten entrants. Not my best result yet to be sure.... A photo of each of my games below. I only used my own armies once (Nabataean vs Seleukids), the other games were all played with my opponents' armies.

My vikings take a close 3:4 defeat at the hands of the miserable Welsh.
Radagaisus leads my Ostragoths to victory (4:0), capturing the Late Roman BUA in the first turn.
My Mound-builders were crushed by his Mound-builders (2:5)
My Nabataeans had a bad time of it against the Late Seleukids among the palms (2:4)
The dirty New Kingdom Gypos sweep in to crush my poor Mitanni (0:4)

So, four losses and only one victory. A couple of the defeats were quite close, but by the last game I'm afraid I had lost heart and the Mitanni were doomed... 

Tuesday 20 September 2011

DBA 3.0 Late Seleukids (II19d)

Antiochos VIII Grypos (Hooknose) 125-96 BC
As most DBA players would be aware, evolving lists have been posted and made available through Fanaticus (HERE somewhere) for some time now. Back in July, I caught on to this and had a look at the Seleukid list (II/19) to see what changes had occurred and was relatively pleased with some things, rather concerned by others. I shot off the following email to Sue Laflin-Barker at WRG:

Dear Sue,

Apologies for not being in touch sooner. I have been snowed under with work (and fatherhood) over the last six months and have only just seen the suggested DBA 3.0 army lists. I have a couple of comments or suggestions for the Seleukid lists (II/19) that I feel qualified to make.

i) While I'm glad to see the Seleukid list finally being continued dow to the date of Pompey's dissolution of the Sleukid kingdom, the event happened in 64 BC, not 69 BC.
ii) Sekunda's volume on the Seleukid army is very flawed and not regarded very highly among academics. I was very surprised not to see Bar-Kochva's The Seleucid army: organization and tactics in the great campaigns <http://www.amazon.com/Seleucid-Army-Organization-Campaigns-Cambridge/dp/0521206677> which is a much better researched monograph and also looks into order of battles etc.
iii) Army list d should either be dater 166-64 BC or 166-96 BC allowing for an e list (96-64 BC). A realistic e list would look something like 1xKn (Gen), 1xLH, 1xBd, 2xPk, 2x (Pk or Ax), 2xAx, 1x (Cm or Ps), 2xPs reflecting the shrinking kingdom, less access to eastern cavalry, more reliance on civic militia or Levanine levies (Ax and Cm), certainly no El.
iv) Army list d enemies should include II/22d Characene (fought against by Demetrios II and Antiochos VII, II/28a Tigranes (since Hoover's article in Historia, 2007, it has been clear that Tigranes invasion of Syria should be dated c.75 BC and had an agressive, militaristic side - he was not invited in due to lack of Seleukid kings).  II/33 Polybian Romans are a slightly ahistorical opponent. There was no armed conflict between Rome and the Seleukids after 187 BC.
v) Army list d allies, I am positive that II/47 Early Germans are a mistake...

Please, take these points as you will. I would hope to see points i and v taken into account at the very least.



Her response was a little underwhelming:

Thank you for the comments. I'll certainly add the Bar-Kochva reference.


I have just had another look at the most recent lists and have seen that alot more was taken on board than I had originally feared.

All points i, ii, and the first option of iii, iv and v were all accepted. All there in the new list. I now query why II2 and II3 (Indian armies) are listed as opponents for such a late Seleukid army (166-64 BC)...

I know that WRG have taken a lot of recent flak for not engaging with the wider DBA community or listening to the opinions of those outside of their immediate testing circle. In this case though, I was really pleased to see some changes accepted.

On the whole, bravo to Sue!

Monday 19 September 2011

His Most Catholic Majesty's man in the New World (part 1)

I have recently started work on a new battle of Colonial Spanish (using the less vicious post-1617 list) to compliment my Hollanders (HERE and HERE) and Caribbean Indians (HERE). Most of my original figures who were flagged as Spanish have since been absorbed into other lists. Finding time to paint at the moment is difficult so the completion date for these little chaps is estimated at 'some time in the future'. 

As a starter army, His Most Catholic Majesty's man in the New World (Don Diego Diablo del Mar), will include the two compulsory company types:
d2 Herreruelos 
2 Militia pike

I've then gone with five of the possible options the provide a limited amount of adaptability:
d3 Militia shot
d3 Armed mobs*
1 War-dogs*
d3 Indian mercenaries
1 Saker*

* completed
The scale is 15mm using a greater variety of brands than I'm usually prone to - a mix of Grumpy, Essex, Museum and Peter Pig.

The armed colonists, rallying to defend their settlements from heretics and savages 
Details showing the gentleman, his mistress, the priest and the goat. 
War-dogs, as seen previously
Saker, as seen previously but with a shortened barrel. 
More pictures will be posted as the battle gets painted. For now I thought I'd post a few inspirational pictures from the 2006 Spanish epic, Alatriste (at IMDb). Based on a series of novels by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, the movie is set in Spain and the Netherlands during the 1620s and 30s. This ambitious movie is visually stunning and loads of fun. The only real negative is that it tries to squeeze too much into a single movie and as a result, the plot jumps around and feels a bit disjointed in places.

Viggo Mortensen as Diego Alatriste and his band of merceneries
Elena Anya as Angelica de Alquezar

Dutch ruijters

Spanish pike

Sunday 11 September 2011

Colonel Clijsters' last Caribbean holiday

An after action report of Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World's End:

It was all looking so well for the Hollander lord, Colonel Clijsters. En-route to the East Indies, he brought his small flotilla across to the Caribbean to stock up on fresh perishables, tobacco and the odd golden trinket which may or may not have held significance to the hapless indigenes. 

Landing a small expeditionary force of a group of merchant adventurers,  two companies of trained shot, a company of mercenary halberdiers, two batteries of ship's guns and a personal retinue of ruijters, Clijsters established a beachhead on a small hillock within cannon shot of the shore. Before he had a chance to send out scouts to make contact with the poxy natives, he started to feel like he was being watched...
"There aren't many of them sir - this might be a fore gone conclusion."
 As the engagement opened, only three companies of Caribbean natives were visible to the Hollanders through the palm forests. It seemed that Big Chief Jojo had also rolled fairly poorly during recruitment. Only a company each of Cacique head-hunters, scouts and cimeroons were on the board.
Flushing them from the woods.
 The opening barrage from the ship's guns forced the Caribbean lord to come on the offensive. As his hidden companies moved forward, his disposition was revealed. There seemed to be more of the pox-ridden natives than Clijsters had first thought.
The Dutch start to feel a little nervous about the natives.
The full Caribbean battle is revealed: two companies each of cacique head-hunters, scouts, and cimeroons, four companies of archers, a company of boucaniers and some priests.
The cimeroons close with the VOC trained shot.
Clijsters & Son take stock of the worsening situation....
Time for some fancy Dutch footwork...
Big Chief Jojo and his head-hunters size up some new trophies
 As the natives advanced up the centre, hails of arrows weakened the resolve of the merchants who tried to withdraw out of head-hunter charge range. The halberdiers were not in much better shape while the trained shot continued to hold their own against the cimeroons on the Hollander left.
 The trained shot finally scatter as the native centre punches through the Hollander's very thin orange line. Isolated on the right, Clijsters and his ruijters charge forward into the massed ranks of waiting heathen who quickly surround him, cutting off all hope of escape.
Col. Clijsters' last stand...
The Caribbean Indian right flank companies wander around outside of their lord's command radius while their centre make short work of the Hollander cannons. The Hollander ruijters put on a heroic show but after several nail-biting rounds of melee, they slowly sink into the surrounding hoards of natives. 

It was a fun game - even if the Hollanders were the obvious underdog from the beginning. If the trained shot had managd to scatter the cimeroons (and there turned out to be only one roll that decided that struggle), The results could have been very different. On the other hand, if the ruijters had been committed earlier they might have prevented the Hollander right being shot up so badly before the crucial melee encounters.... Whichever way you look at it though, the Hollanders had a sorry, sorry day.

Saturday 10 September 2011

Royal English main battle

The Royal English battle arrayed

Here are a few shots of the main infantry forces for the Royal English - the English mounted and longbowmen were previously previewed HERE.

All figures are Essex, a mixed selection from their 15mm 16th century and ECW ranges. I added the ECW figures to a) provide a bit more variety as far as poses are concerned and b) to try to give them a very late 16th centruy (O'Neill's rebellion-ish period) look. The colour concept was to have the demi-lancers, border horse, billmen, longbowmen and artillery in a red and green (Tudor) livery, while the pike militia and plantation militia are in greys, browns and blue. I think they came up alright.

The Queen's billmen
Militia from the English plantations

Finally, here are a few 15mm Irregular sheep and lambs. Irregular's range of animals is quite extensive. I used their goats for my DBA Paionian camp and I liked the figures very much. Unfortunately their sheep are a bit disappointing (read 'pants')... These will be used for livestock raiding scenarios in Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World's End.
The flock gathers...